Libya arrests three suspected smugglers over migrant boat disaster
By Ahmed Elumami TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan authorities have arrested three people on suspicion of involvement in launching a boat packed with migrants that sank off the country's Mediterranean coast, killing up to 200 people, a security official said on Saturday. Libya has turned into a main transit route for migrants fleeing conflict and poverty to make it to Europe. Three Libyan smugglers involved in launching the ill-fated boat and other vessels to take migrants to Italy have been arrested, said a security official, asking not to be named.
South Sudan rivals trade accusations over new fighting
South Sudan's rebels accused government troops on Saturday of launching attacks on their forces in the north of the country after a ceasefire that is part of a peace deal came into effect, a charge the government denied. It was the latest exchange of accusations since President Salva Kiir signed the pact on Wednesday that aims to end 20 months of conflict in the world's newest nation. Rebel leader Riek Machar's forces said on Saturday that their positions in Adok, a Nile river port in oil-rich Unity state, came under assault by government troops in gunboats.
Burkina dismisses election candidates linked to ex-president
By Mathieu Bonkoungou OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Burkina Faso's constitutional council on Saturday dismissed two election candidates close to ousted President Blaise Compaore, but allowed other members of the political old guard to stand. This week the same council rendered ineligible more than 40 candidates for the legislative elections on the grounds they had supported "anti-constitutional change damaging to the principle of democratic transition". Among those disqualified by the decision were Eddie Komboigo, a former member of parliament representing Compaore's former ruling party the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP), and Gilbert Noel Ouedraogo from the Alliance for Democracy and Federation-African Democratic Rally (ADF-RDA).
American arrested on Sierra Leone "blood diamond" charges
Michel Desaedeleer, who has U.S. and Belgian citizenship, is suspected of forcing enslaved civilians to mine for diamonds in Sierra Leone's eastern district of Kono between 1999-2001, according to Swiss-based Civitas Maxima. During Sierra Leone's long conflict, the diamonds were sent to neighbouring Liberia where former President Charles Taylor used the proceeds to finance weapons for rebels. "(The case) will help to raise awareness of the pivotal role played by financial actors in the trade of mineral resources that fuel armed conflicts in Africa and elsewhere," said Alain Werner, director of Civitas Maxima, which has been working for years to document the crimes and assist victims.
German corporate giants suspected in Greek corruption cases
Siemens, Daimler, Rheinmetall -- the cream of German industry -- have been mired in cases of alleged corruption in Greece, the country that Berlin has repeatedly admonished for the parlous state of its economy. No date has been set yet for 19 former executives of German engineering group Siemens to appear in Greek court, but it is expected to be one of the biggest financial trials of the decade in Greece. Bavaria-based Siemens, whose links to Greece go back to the 19th century, is suspected of having greased the palms of various officials to clinch one of the country's most lucrative contracts -- the vast upgrade of the Greek telephone network in the late 1990s.